9 Hacks For Getting Cheap Flights

Ad failed to load

There are some aspects of modern life that the human brain just hasn’t evolved for, and buying plane tickets is a prime example. Between comparing prices, calculating layover times, figuring out which airport you prefer, deciding when to buy your flights, and more, all the considerations are just mental overload. So, if you’re like me and you’re flying several times a month, you have two choices: Find tricks to getting good flights, or get completely stressed (and go broke).

If your number one goal is to get the best deals possible, the key is to let your flights dictate your destination and travel days instead of the other way around, travel bloggers Greg Victor and Jo Mae ‘Jumi’ tell Bustle. It may not always be possible to go anywhere at any time, but when you do have some flexibility, it can be exciting to be spontaneous and travel somewhere you know little about.

Another piece of advice I would give is to not spend too much time on flight searches. Decide in advance that you’ll only spend, say, half an hour or an hour on it. After a while, all the lost time isn’t worth the money you save.

Ad failed to load

To make this whole process less stressful, here are a few tips for snagging cheap flights.

Ad failed to load

1Compare Search Engines


I’ve had this happen both ways: Sometimes, Orbitz, or Expedia offer me a better price than Google Flights is showing me. Other times, it pays off to go directly to the airline’s site. To make sure you’re getting the best deal, check a variety of sites. Don’t rely on flight search engines to show you all the best prices.

2Travel When You Have Less Competition


If you can, pick a day and time when the demand for your flight is low. Google Flights will show you the best days based on the flight you want, but weekday, early morning, and overnight flights are generally cheaper. I used to try to avoid flights at odd hours, but the truth is, flights are exhausting no matter when you take them, so you’d might as well save money.

3Create Your Own Combinations


If you’re willing to have a long layover (and perhaps even take advantage of it by exploring the city it’s in), there’s a chance that flight search engines won’t show you all the combinations that might work for you. For example, if you’re OK with flying to Miami in the morning, spending a day in Mexico City, and going to Puerto Vallarta at night, a search for flights from Miami to Puerto Vallarta may not show you all your options. Try searching for each flight separately to make sure you’re not missing anything.

Ad failed to load

4Track Your Flights


If you want to keep an eye on a particular flight’s prices, locate it in Google Flights and click “track this flight.” You’ll get an email if the price goes down (and you should snag it, because it’ll go back up again), and you’ll also get an email if it goes up (and you should snag it then, too, because it’ll keep rising).

5Book One Person At A Time


Bizarrely, the cost of two seats on a flight is sometimes more than double the cost of one. Lifestyle publicist and blogger Colleen Gwen Armstrong gave me this tip, but I double-checked it, and it’s true. If this is happening with the flight you’re booking, book each passenger separately.

6Switch Browsers


“It’s an open secret that frequently searched flights go up in price,” Armstrong says So don’t let Google know how much you want that flight. Switch browsers or open incognito windows so it’s not obvious how much you’re searching.

Ad failed to load

7Follow Flight Deal Accounts On Social Media


The Twitter accounts @theflightdeal, @secretflying, and @airfarespot are dedicated solely to informing you of amazing deals on flights, so Greg and Jumi recommend taking advantage of them. Snag a deal as soon as you see one, because they don’t stay up for long.

8Search The Whole World


If you’re willing to be flexible about where you go, Greg and Jumi suggest going to Skyscanner.com and typing “everywhere” as your destination. You’ll be amazed by the prices that come out. By doing this just now, I learned you can go from New York to Martinique for $63 and to London for $119.

9Make Your Destination Your Layover


This sounds contradictory, and it really doesn’t make sense, but such is getting flights: Sometimes, a flight that passes your destination as a layover is cheaper than one that ends up there. For example, flying from JFK to LAX may cost more than flying from JFK to PHX with a layover at LAX. Go figure. To take advantage of this, Greg and Jumi recommend using Skiplagged.com to find flights with your destination as a layover.

Be warned, though, this only works if you don’t check bags. It’s also not the nicest thing to do to the airline staff, who will be searching for you and potentially leaving late because you appear to be missing your connecting flight.

Getting flights may always be a timesuck, but it doesn’t have to be a wallet-suck — at least not completely.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

11 Ways To Stay Positive When Dating Feels Like The Worst, According To Matchmakers

With every first date that leads to nowhere or every non-relationship that ends up being a waste of your time, finding love can seem far from possible. It can also be pretty rough on your self-esteem if you continually put a lot of effort into dating…
By Kristine Fellizar

I Tried Venus' New Facial Hair Removal Device & Will Never Get My Upper Lip Area Waxed Again

I remember the first time I realized I was growing hair above my upper lip. It was when a very rude seventh grader decided to point it out in front of my friends and me during our lunch break. He wasn't wrong — just mean — and ever since then, I've b…
By Sara Tan

Here Are The Exact Steps To Take If You Want To Travel All The Time & Work Remotely

When I first decided I wanted to become a digital nomad — someone who travels non-stop while working remotely — I was terrified and unsure if I would actually go through with it. I worried my work would suffer from all the travel and time zone change…
By Suzannah Weiss

7 Ways To Celebrate Your 30th Birthday That Are Feminist AF

Turning 30 is a pretty major milestone; it's one of those birthdays where large parties, floods of presents and many bouquets from besotted admirers seem to be in order. And as a woman and a feminist, I'm here to offer some additional 30th birthday i…
By JR Thorpe

Here’s Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In April

As the virtual shelf life for non-original Netflix programs grows shorter and shorter, fans of the streaming service are bidding woeful goodbyes to their favorite titles left and right. So, for those who need some time to prepare, here's everything l…
By Angelica Florio

Is Amazon's Alexa Making Our Relationships Weird?

Earlier this year, I started dating a guy who was in a very codependent relationship with Alexa. Alexa helped this guy (I'll call him "Paul") decide where to eat dinner and reminded him to work out. Alexa handled his to-do lists, restocked his toile…
By Sophie Saint Thomas

You Can Get Too Faced Mascara & Tarte Lipstick For HALF OFF At Ulta This Month

It's finally here! Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty Sale runs from now through Saturday, April 7 and is the retailer's epic "event" of the year. The promotion features "Beauty Steals," which means 50 percent off specific products for a single day. It also in…
By Amy Sciarretto

7 Things My 20s Taught Me About Toxic Relationships

I'll be turning 30 in less than a week, and while I'm trying to get all the habits of my twenties out of the way ASAP, I'm also reflecting on the what I learned over the past decade. And top of the list is the lessons I learned about toxic relationsh…
By JR Thorpe

7 Surprising Things That Happened When I Went A Month Without Drinking

If someone asked you if you could take a break from drinking alcohol, would you be able to do it? You may think it’s no big deal to take a month off from drinking, or you may think it’s a *huge* deal, as alcohol seems to be the center of many social …
By Natalia Lusinski

I Wore 'Dad Shoes' For A Week & They Were SO Much Cooler Than I Thought They’d Be

It’s no secret that fashion loves a good polarizing trend. Not too long ago, Birkenstocks made their high fashion runway appearance at Céline and Crocs followed suit on the runways of Christopher Kane and Balenciaga. Now, it’s time for the "ugly" sne…
By Dale Arden Chong

8 Ways Younger Millennials Communicate That Older Millennials Don’t Get

When comparing the ways our parents grew up communicating and the way we all grew up communicating, it seems like their generation and ours grew up in a different world. The technology our parents grew up with was so basic, it's ancient in comparison…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

This Is The ONE Sign That Won’t Be Affected By Mercury Retrograde This Month

It really doesn't seem fair that one astrological sign can ever enjoy the benefit of escaping the wrath of Mercury retrograde — that is, of course, unless that sign is your own — but it happens. Occasionally, the stars just align in the right way for…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Why My Boyfriend & I Started Couples Counseling 6 Months Into Our Relationship

Right away, Kurt and I agreed on almost everything. We had met through a mutual friend in 2015, but we didn't start dating until we came across each other on Bumble a few years later. That's when we discovered that we were on the same page when it ca…
By Rachel Simon

This Primer & Mascara Combo Literally Doubles The Length Of My Eyelashes

Even as someone who loves beauty, I was never been particularly passionate about finding the perfect mascara. And then I got lash extensions for the first time. While I enjoy the long, full lashes that lash extensions provide, I always found myself j…
By Olivia Muenter

I Accidentally Fell In Love With My Friend With Benefits & It's Painful

Against my better judgment, I have fallen in love with my friend with benefits. I think I may have fallen in love with him month ago, but being stubborn AF, I fought against those feelings, tooth and nail, and, when it was suggested by a couple close…
By Amanda Chatel

This Viral Post About A Woman Breastfeeding In Public Actually Has A Happy Ending For Once

And today in things that will warm even the coldest of hearts, we have this: A story recently posted to the r/TwoXChromosome subreddit about a dad’s response to his daughter shaming a breastfeeding parent is everything. Posted by Redditor u/starsonwi…
By Lucia Peters

These March Beauty Launches Require Your Immediate Attention

I write one of these beauty editorials every month (feel free to check out January and February 2018 if you're in need of even more products to shower yourself with). Sometimes, I get worried that there won't be enough newness to share — especially b…
By Amanda Richards

Here's How You’re Most Likely To Get Your Heart Broken, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Getting your heart broken can be one of the most painful experiences you can have in your life. But if you're into astrology, being familiar with your zodiac sign can be pretty helpful. For instance, when you know the ways you're likely to get your h…
By Kristine Fellizar

How I Learned Losing Your Job Isn't The End Of The World

Two and a half years ago, I was taking a day off from my marketing job at a San Francisco tech startup to host a friend when I got a call from the CEO. Apparently, I'd missed a pretty big day: 80 percent of the company, including the whole sales and …
By Suzannah Weiss

Meghan Markle's First Appearance With The Queen Included An Homage To Princess Diana

Fashion pundits love keeping a close eye on what the women of the monarchy are wearing, especially when there's an overlap with Princess Diana's sense of style. We're nothing but nostalgic when it comes to Princess Di and her on-point aesthetic. Find…
By Marlen Komar

Why Arizona's Exit From 'Grey's Anatomy' Is A Huge Blow To The LGBTQ Community

Whenever I re-watch Grey's Anatomy, I don't start with Derek Shepherd waking up in Meredith's apartment after their first hookup. I start with Season 5, when Callie first meets Arizona in a bar. I start here, because I want to watch someone like me f…
By Martha Sorren

I Couldn't Find A Beauty Campaign With Plus Size Models, So I Made One Myself

In the fall of 2015, I visited relatives in my hometown, a small suburb of New Jersey. There isn't much to do there, apart from dining at Applebee's or hitting the mall. As a plus size woman, cruising through a shopping mall is a mixed bag. Certain d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

The 21 New Books That Goodreads Users Are Most Excited About This Spring

Despite the fact the Northeast is being pummeled by yet another storm that threatens to trap the region in snow and ice for eternity, winter is finally almost over, and you know what that means. No, I'm not talking about April showers or May flowers …
By Sadie Trombetta

If You’re Addicted To Rewatching ‘The Office,' There’s An Actual Reason For That

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was looking for fans of The Office who can't stop, won't stop rewatching the series, and that they should email me if they'd like to contribute to an article about their obsession. By the next morning, I had 32 messa…
By Lia Beck